LONDON Jan 20 London's Heathrow Airport was hit
by a third straight day of delays on Sunday after airport bosses
cancelled 20 percent of flights as snow continued to blanket the
British capital, with more forecast.
Heathrow Ltd, which is owned by Spain's Ferrovial
, said the reduced schedule - amounting to around 250
fewer flights - would help it cope with the expected snowfall
without making further cancellations.
"There is a high probability of around two to six
centimetres of accumulating snow and low visibility at periods
throughout the day," a Heathrow spokesman said.
"This will reduce the capacity of the airport and without
action would cause significant disruption to passengers and
London's smaller Stansted and Gatwick airports said they
were operating as normal on Sunday morning but that delays and
some flight cancellations were likely.
Weather forecaster the Met Office said snow was likely to
continue throughout Sunday and into Monday. As much as eight
centimetres was expected in southeast England on Sunday, it
On average, some 1,300 flights leave Heathrow daily. The
airport, Europe's busiest, operates at close to full capacity
after Britain's coalition government blocked development of a
third runway in 2010.
Heathrow has spent 36 million pounds ($57 million) on
upgrading its winter weather equipment since 2010 - a year that
saw it face heavy criticism after it almost shut down when snow
hit just before Christmas. It now has 130 snow-clearing
More than 400 flights were cancelled on Friday, while on
Saturday 111 flights, most of them operated by IAG's
British Airways, were cancelled and hundreds of passengers spent
the night in Heathrow's terminals.
BA said there had been a knock-on effect because many of its
planes were in the wrong place after Friday's snow.
"Like other airlines at Heathrow we have complied with a
request to reduce our schedule by 20 percent on Sunday and we
continue to work with Heathrow Airport to help keep the airport
running as smoothly as possible," BA said in a statement.
"We are doing everything we can to help customers whose
flights have been disrupted by severe weather."
Services by Air France-KLM, Ireland's Aer Lingus
and Germany's Lufthansa have also been